Dog Blog

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Basenji Rescue and Transport has reprinted my article that appeared in the June 2011 issue of Inside Publications.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

It's another wintry summer day, but I'm glad the weird weather held off for Sunday's Seersucker Ride, the summer version of the Tweed Ride.  Last Sunday morning, close to 150 cyclists arrived at Temple Coffee on vintage bicycles, some toting their dogs in baskets or trailers.  Most of us were dressed in vintage clothing, which was supposed to include seersucker.  I haven't owned anything made of seersucker since the 1960s, and I didn't have a clue where to look for any seersucker attire on short notice until I thought of the SPCA Thrift Shop.

I had gathered up some donations to drop off, so I did a little seersucker shopping while I was there.  As luck would have it, I found a Bermuda shorts and jacket ensemble that was a perfect fit.  I looked pretty natty for the occasion wearing that and my stylish new Yakkay bike helmet, which looks like a hat but is actually "brainwear" with a colorful fabric cover that can be changed to suit your mood or the season.  Never mind that my seersucker suit was 100% Polyester rather than cotton, as it would have been in the early 20th Century.

Everyone socialized and admired one another's retro duds and bikes, which included a penny farthing and lots of bikes from the 40s and 50s, as well as some Electra bicycles, which you can hardly tell aren't vintage until you look more closely.  It was quite a photo op (more photos to come).  Revolution Wines sold boxed lunches for $10, which was fortunate since I didn't know that we were going to be riding to William Land Park for a picnic.  I'd heard about this event at the last minute, so there wasn't much time to prepare.  After our social hour, we all headed out for a ride through the town, which was the most fun I've had in ages. The Wire Terrier riding in the front basket of the bike beside me obviously agreed.  I'm sure my face must have looked as happy as his, and by the end of the day I'd be panting, too, in my Polyester cyclewear.  Another fellow was hauling a cello behind his bike.  He was one of the band members who would be playing lively music for us at the park.

A bright chorus of bike bells chimed as drivers honked friendly greetings and people waved to us as we pedaled leisurely through the streets of Sacramento.  This was a good experience for my husband, who is more of a speedster.  The slower, gentler pace and civility amongst our group was the perfect panacea for stress reduction in an increasingly stressful world.  What is a better stress-buster than a lazy Sunday afternoon bike ride?  This is something my family always did when I was growing up, either by auto or bicycle.

Once we reached the park, everyone found a spot on the shaded grass in a verdant urban forest (Are you reading this, Army Corps of Engineers?) to arrange their lawn spreads and set up for their feast.  This was especially pleasant for me because some of my fondest early childhood memories are of picnicking with my parents at William Land Park, riding the carousel, leaping fish and boat rides at Funland, and feeling the assurance of my strong Texan father's steady hand bracing his little girl in the saddle as I rode around the circular roped path of the Pony Rides.  I felt as though I'd been transported back to a gentler century, when people seemed kinder, happier, and more cultured.  One group had transported a portable vintage tea table, an English china tea service, and a wind-up record player that squawked Sing, Sing, Sing in 78 rpm.  When I heard the wail of a train steam whistle, coming from Old Sac, I could easily imagine I was cocooned in some kind of time warp, if just for an hour or two.  The sound of a cell phone ringing spoiled my blissful daydream and jolted me back to the present day.   

We were treated to some scrumptious cupcake samples, and for $3.00 we could buy a Popsicle, which was such a cool delight on a warm day.  My seersucker suit was making me sweat like the pig that knows he's dinner, and my husband and I were getting weary from standing so long, since we'd brought nothing to sit on.  We ate our boxed lunch while standing.  The rest of the group would ride on to Crocker Museum for more refreshment and then end up at DeVere's Irish Pub. I really hated to miss that, but the two of us headed back to Temple Coffee, where we ordered some cold drinks to chill out, then rode back to where our car was parked.  The ride back was not quite so leisurely with my husband well in the lead of our two-person peloton.  I had the same view I've had ever since we've been riding bikes together.

According to my odometer, we were actually only peddling for an hour on the Seersucker Ride, but it was a memorable afternoon enjoying Sacramento's growing bike culture.  I would like to see Sacramento to give Davis some real two-wheeled competition, not only in events like this one and the adoption of a true bike culture in our city, but also in bike safety.  We don't need any more Ghost Bikes like the ones near Sac State.  I hope that the Give Me Three campaign is successful, so that cars give bikers some respect.  Not all the motorists we encountered were courteous, even on a quiet Sunday afternoon, and some cyclists in our group ran a red light, which is a good way to end up a Ghost Bike.  

BUI, though)--and something to sit on comfortably while we eat it.  I'm searching for a vintage bike, too.  I'd love to find my old forest green/cream Montgomery Wards Hawthorne.  Stylish as it may be, I may skip wearing the Yakkay, unless the weather is like it is today, since this helmet doesn't seem to vent as well as a Giro.  And next year my seersucker will be made of 100% cotton!  Meanwhile, I'll be searching for that and some tweed to wear in November for the Tweed Ride.    


Friday, June 24, 2011


This is so disturbing to watch, but everyone needs to.  When are idiots like these ever going to learn that you can't leave a pet inside a car at a mall or anywhere else in the summer while they shop?   

"Two minutes" one couple said they left their two Schnauzers in their car at Arden Fair Mall when security caught up with them.  Run, dummies, run!  Save your dogs!  The dogs were actually shut up in the car 30 minutes on that 102-degree day.  The report didn't say whether the dogs survived, but I doubt they did.  These offenses should be punished to the full extent of the law, just like a premeditated murder, because that's what it is.  Notice the man returning to his car with his "important" purchase, oblivious to the plight of his dog as he gets in the car and drives off.  Let's hope he cranked up the A/C, for his own comfort I'm sure, and took his dog to the nearest vet for emergency treatment, though I doubt he did.  I wonder how long it will be before he traps his dog in the car again while he shops?  One can only hope he saw his cruel, stupid behavior broadcast on the evening news and will stop leaving his dog in a four-wheeled oven.    

Seems like catching the offenders (and their car license) on camera should be ample evidence to convict them of animal cruelty.  I'm stunned and furious that mall security captured this footage of an animal cooking in a car but no one responded to the emergency.  If they were waiting for animal control officers to arrive on the scene to rescue the animal, the dog would probably be dead by then.  I'm even angrier that no animal cruelty charges were filed against these pet owners.  Fact is, the law doesn't care to pursue perpetrators of these tragic incidents.  They have more important things to do.  Would it be different if it was a child left to die in a hot car?   You bet!  Child or animal, it's a living thing, and there is a law stating that pets should not be left in cars in unsafe conditions.  Unfortunately, it's a law no one enforces. 

When these incidents occur, and they no doubt will continue throughout the summer, it should be acceptable for anyone to intervene to rescue an animal from certain death by whatever means necessary.  The other day at REI, a citizen did exactly that when someone else had left his dog shut up in a hot car in the parking lot while shopping.  The canine crusader shattered the imbecile's car window to save the animal.  Better to have a broken window than a dead dog.  I personally would not stand by and let an animal die before my eyes while waiting for police (who have never come when I've summoned them for a K-911 and certainly wouldn't now with budget cutbacks) or animal control (same problem) to arrive on the scene.    


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Summer is finally here and so are the dangers.  The sudden warming trend may catch some pet owners unaware.  Here are some reminders of protecting your pet from the heat and other summer hazards:

  1. Hot cars can turn into a deadly death trap - even with the windows cracked. Within 10 minutes the temperature inside an automobile can rise to 160 degrees and cause irreversible brain damage and/or death to pets.  
  2. Dogs that are kept outside need available shade and water at all times.  
  3. Dogs should be properly groomed so that their hair doesn't get too long. Dogs with long hair are more susceptible to heat stroke and other hot weather problems.  
  4. Avoid excess exercise with your pet when it is hot outside.  
  5. Be mindful of hot pavements - dog paws are easily injured on super-hot streets and it is very painful to dogs.  
  6. Always keep your dog on a leash. 
  7. Always read labels on garden products, bug spray, and other outdoor products to make sure they are pet-friendly.


Sunday, June 19, 2011

You can't keep your pet? Really?  (This post found on Craig's List--I'm passing it along)

By a Shelter Manager

I think our society needs a huge "Wake-up" call. As a shelter manager, I am going to share a little insight with you all...a view from the inside if you will. First off, all of you people who have ever surrendered a pet to a shelter or humane society should be made to work in the "back" of an animal shelter for just one day. Maybe if you saw the life drain from a few sad, lost, confused eyes, you would stop flagging the ads on Craigslist and help these animals find homes. That puppy you just bought will most likely end up in my shelter when it's not a cute little puppy anymore. Just so you know there's a 90% chance that dog will never walk out of the shelter it's dumped at? Purebred or not! About 25% of all of the dogs that are "owner surrenders" or "strays," that come into a shelter are purebred dogs.

The most common excuses: "We are moving and we can't take our dog (or cat)." Really? Where are you moving too that doesn't allow pets? Or they say "The dog got bigger than we thought it would". How big did you think a German Shepherd would get? "We don't have time for her." Really? I work a 10-12 hour day and still have time for my 6 dogs! "She's tearing up our yard." How about making her a part of your family? They always tell me "We just don't want to have to stress about finding a place for her we know she'll get adopted, she's a good dog."

Odds are your pet won't get adopted, and how stressful do you think being in a shelter is? Well, let me tell you, your pet has 72 hours to find a new family from the moment you drop it off. Sometimes a little longer if the shelter isn't full and your dog manages to stay completely healthy. If it sniffles, it dies. Your pet will be confined to a small run/kennel in a room with other barking or crying animals. It will have to relieve itself where it eats and sleeps. It will be depressed and it will cry constantly for the family that abandoned it. If your pet is lucky, I will have enough volunteers in that day to take him/her for a walk. If I don't, your pet won't get any attention besides having a bowl of food slid under the kennel door and the waste sprayed out of its pen with a high-powered hose. If your dog is big, black or any of the "Bully" breeds (pit bull, rottie, mastiff, etc) it was pretty much dead when you walked it through the front door. Those dogs just don't get adopted. It doesn't matter how "sweet" or "well behaved" they are.

If your dog doesn't get adopted within its 72 hours and the shelter is full, it will be destroyed. If the shelter isn't full and your dog is good enough and of a desirable enough breed it may get a stay of execution, but not for long. Most dogs get very kennel protective after about a week and are destroyed for showing aggression. Even the sweetest dogs will turn in this environment. If your pet makes it over all of those hurdles, chances are it will get kennel cough or an upper respiratory infection and will be destroyed because the shelter gets paid a fee to euthanize each animal and making money is better than spending money to take this animal to the vet.

Here's a little Euthanasia 101 for those of you that have never witnessed a perfectly healthy, scared animal being "put-down." First, your pet will be taken from its kennel on a leash. They always look like they think they are going for a walk happy, wagging their tails. Until they get to "The Room." Every one of them freaks out and puts on the brakes when we get to the door. It must smell like death or they can feel the sad souls that are left in there. It's strange, but it happens with every one of them. Your dog or cat will be restrained, held down by 1 or 2 shelter workers depending on the size and how freaked out they are. Then a shelter worker who we call a euthanasia tech (not a vet) finds a vein in the front leg and injects a lethal dose of the "pink stuff." Hopefully your pet doesn't panic from being restrained and jerk. I've seen the needles tear out of a leg and been covered with the resulting blood and been deafened by the yelps and screams. They all don't just "go to sleep"; sometimes they spasm for a while, gasp for air and defecate on themselves. You see, shelters are trying to make money to pay employee paychecks, and don't forget the board of directors needs to be paid too, so we don't spend our funds to tranquilize the animal before injecting them with the lethal drug, we just put the burning lethal drug in the vein and let them suffer until dead. If it were not a "making money issue" and we had to have a licensed vet do this procedure, the animal would be sedated or tranquilized and then euthanized, but to do this procedure correctly would cost more money, so we do not follow what is right for the animal, we just follow what is the fastest way we can make a dollar. Shelters do not have to have a vet perform their euthanasias, so even if it takes our employee 50 pokes with a needle and 3 hours to get the vein, that is what we do. Making money is the issue here, not losing money.

Then it all ends, your pets corpse will be stacked like firewood in a large freezer in the back with all of the other animals that were killed, waiting to be picked up like garbage. What happens next? Cremated? Taken to the dump? Rendered into pet food? Or used for the schools to dissect and experiment on? You'll never know and it probably won't even cross your mind. It was just an animal, and you can always buy another one, right?

I hope that those of you who still have a beating heart and have read this are bawling your eyes out and can't get the pictures out of your head. I deal with this every day. I hate my job. I hate that it exists, and I hate that it will always be there unless you people make some changes and start educating the public. Do research, do your homework, and know exactly what you are getting into before getting a pet. These shelters and humane societies exist because people just do not care about animals any more. Animals were not intended to be disposable, but somehow that is what they are these days. Animal shelters are an easy way out when you get tired of your dog (or cat), and breeders are the ones blamed for this. Animal shelters and rescue organizations are making a hefty profit by keeping this misconception going.

Between 9 and 11 MILLION animals die every year in shelters and only you can stop it. I just hope I maybe changed one person's mind about taking their dog to a shelter, a humane society, or buying a dog. For those of you that care---please repost this to at least one other craiglist in another city/state. Let's see if we can get this all around the US and have an impact.


Thursday, June 16, 2011

This morning Beau had a ball at the dog park with a young black lab mix named Lexi.  He usually doesn't get on well with large black dogs, a common phobia with some dogs, I've read.  Not so with Lexi.  I don't often see him cavort with a dog like he did with her.  They ran all over the place, with him trying to keep up with her, and her pawing at him to keep him engaged in the game of chase.  She leaped over him like a hurdle, and he makes such a perfect one with his low, long body.  I think he had the hots for her, but of course he wouldn't be able to do much about it, kind of like Hugh Hefner with his 26-year-old almost bride.  At 85, you have to wonder how much longer he can keep this up, without Viagra that is.  Too bad no one ever neutered Hef.

A corps of young workers were busy doing work in our little dog park today trimming, cutting, and generally maintaining the area.  I don't think they were affiliated with the City of Sacramento, but what a nice thing to see, considering many of our larger parks are going to the dogs these days without any funds to maintain them.  I forgot to thank them for their work but wish I had.  We lost our water fountains months ago to copper thieves, and those have still not been replaced.   It might be nice before the real summer heat descends on us to have some water available to drink that doesn't come in plastic bottles, which litter the parks after every weekend's activities.

I've ranted about this before, but with summer upon us and more folks descending on our parks, it would be so nice if those people who frequent public parks took just a few moments before they leave to collect their trash and discard it in the receptacles provided.  Every Monday is the same at Glenbrook park after the weekend soccer and baseball games.  Rubbish is scattered from one end of the park to the other.  It makes me sad to see it because it shows such disregard for others who also enjoy the parks.  So often I see trash dropped within mere inches of the trash can.  Are we all so thoughtless and lazy these days that we can't even pitch our trash in the nearest trash can?  I try to pick up what I can when I walk my dogs, but it's pretty disgusting having to pick up other people's trash.  And it shouldn't be necessary.

I think part of the problem could be solved if the City of Sacramento reminded groups that seek permits for park events to dispose of all their garbage after the event.  Also, the Mexican food vendor selling food to parkgoers in our area and those servicing other parks should remind their customers to toss their trash in a can when they finish eating.  I grew up in a time when we were expected to be mindful of the rights of others, and that included not littering public places.  Everyone has the right to enjoy a clean, litter-free park.  So, parents, when you accompany your kids to the ball games or other pastimes at the park this summer, remind them not to leave their trash behind and set a good example by stashing your own trash in the can.  I'm sure you wouldn't allow your kids to toss their trash on the floor at home, would you?

Of course, Peaches and Beau will miss the leftovers, but I really don't need any vet bills for the pancreatitis they may get from the Monday Mexican buffet at our neighborhood park.    


Tuesday, June 14, 2011


If this video doesn't bring tears to your eyes, nothing will.


Thursday, June 09, 2011

Reminder from:DogMysteries Yahoo! Group
Title:Dog Mysteries Birthday
Date:Friday June 10, 2011
Time:All Day
Repeats:This event repeats every year.
Notes:Dog Mysteries group was created on June 10, 2000! Let's celebrate!!!!
Here are some suggestions for how:
1. Read a dog mystery today.
2. Buy another dog mystery.
3. Donate something--It can be money, toys, bedding, your time, old (but still good condition) leashes, etc.--to an animal rescue or humane society or animal shelter in honor of our group or in honor/memory of a beloved pet.
4. Set aside some DEAR time today to help get that dog mystery read (or anything else): that's Drop Everything And Read. Pick an hour or two, or more or less--whatever works for you--to dedicate to JUST reading for fun. Nothing else is allowed during this time, except a potty break, if necessary. Keep snacks within reach to relieve unexpected hunger pains without going to the kitchen. And a lap dog or pet curled within reach to stroke while reading is also acceptable.
5. Take your dog(s) for an extra long walk today (or several short walks).
6. Give your pets extra hugs and kisses, and an extra treat or two!